Kolkata: The Indian Premier League 2021 is set to see a number of significant changes in playing conditions - there will be no soft signals from the on-field umpires for contentious decisions while each side will have to complete bowling their 20th over within 90 minutes. The changes will be officially announced on April 1.
As per the new rule set to be introduced, the on-field umpire’s soft signal will not have any bearing on the third umpire’s decision for bump ball for catches, willful obstruction by the batsmen etc. “The on-field umpire giving soft signal while referring the decision to the third umpire will not be applicable,” the BCCI letter with the new playing conditions to the eight franchises stated.
“Should both on-field umpires require assistance from the third umpire to make a decision, the bowler’s end umpire shall firstly take a decision on-field after consulting with the striker’s end umpire, before consulting by two-way radio with the third umpire. Such consultation shall be initiated by the bowler’s end umpire to the third umpire by making the shape of a TV screen with his/her hands. The third umpire shall determine whether the batsman has been caught, whether the delivery was a bump ball or if the batsman willfully obstructed the field. In case of a fair catch, the third umpire will use all the technological support available to him/her. The third umpire shall communicate his/her decision.”
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The use of soft signals had been causing confusion in recent times - the incident of Suryakumar Yadav’s dismissal off a controversial catch taken by Dawid Malan during the recent T20 series resulting in Indian skipper Virat Kohli questioning the soft signal rule. Kohli has also been against the umpire’s call in leg before decisions but the BCCI has decided to stick with it.
“Umpire’s Call is the concept within the DRS under which the on-field decision of the bowler’s end umpire shall stand, which shall apply under the specific circumstances where the ball-tracking technology indicates a marginal decision in respect of either the Impact Zone or the Wicket Zone.”
Short run call
The BCCI has also amended the short run call by the umpires. It has authorised the third umpire to overrule the on-field umpire’s decision on cutting down a run off the batting team’s total. There was a major controversy last year during a Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) and Delhi Capitals game in which a wrong Short Run call by the square leg umpire proved costly for the Punjab side.
Curb on time-wasting
In another move to cut down on time-wasting by the fielding teams, the BCCI has ruled that the 20th over must be finished in 90 minutes. Previously, the 20th over was to start by the 90th minute.
Elaborating on the point, the BCCI said, “The minimum over rate to be achieved in IPL Matches shall be 14.11 overs per hour (ignoring the time taken by time-outs). In uninterrupted matches, this means that the 20th over should finish within 90 minutes (being 85 minutes of playing time plus five minutes of time-out) of the start of the innings. For delayed or interrupted matches where an innings is scheduled to be less than 20 overs, the maximum time of 90 minutes shall be reduced by four minutes 15 seconds for every over by which the innings is reduced.”
BCCI also entrusted the responsibility of ensuring the rule on the fourth umpire and empowered him to warn the batting side if it indulged in time-wasting tactics.